Courses I Took Last Semester
I realised some time ago that I hadn’t really talked much about what courses I took last year and my university experience last year. I have talked about it a little bit in passing but not on a post on its own and since some people have been asking me about it I thought I could write a post and talk about what courses I took, what I learnt and my experiences with online classes.
As you guys know last year was interesting to say the least. Due to the pandemic all my courses were fully online. This was my fourth year which meant that I would now focus on my major and did not have any elective courses. We have to take four fourth year history courses this year and up to two third year history courses. Since this was my first time doing online classes I decided to take only two fourth year courses last semester.
At Brock, your fourth year history courses have a seminar like structure. You don’t have lectures and instead the focus is on discussing both primary and secondary sources with everyone else in your class. It’s significantly more reading compared to the other courses since the emphasis is on sources so that was what mostly kept me busy for the last few months. The discussions are normally student led and we are encouraged to participate as much as possible.
I used to dread seminars in my first semester because as someone with anxiety speaking up in front of everyone is not really something I’m awesome at. However, I am so glad we have seminars and are forced to participate- we aren’t exactly forced but you need to participate at least a few times to get a decent grade. It really helped bring me out of my comfort zone and it helped me develop a lot of skills that will be super useful for me in the future. I am pretty comfortable speaking in groups now in this kind of setting, I have better leadership skills since we have to lead some seminars and I am a lot more confident about my thoughts and opinions. If you knew me when I first started university- my followers who have been following this blog since the beginning will remember- you would never expect me to be okay with this kind of thing. But thanks to my anxiety decreasing significantly due to CBD oil and meditation along with getting used to speaking up I have actually really started enjoying seminars. It helps that I get to be in my pjs for the ones that I don’t have to switch on my camera lol!
Anyway that’s just a little background information about fourth year courses at Brock and how the history ones generally work. Here are the courses I took last semester and my thoughts about them:
History Of Slavery
I have had the professor who was teaching this course for another course and he is probably one of my favourite professors because the stuff he teaches is exactly the kind of history I am generally interested in learning. I took an American history course with him last semester and really enjoyed it. He is just super chill and understanding and has a really great vibe. He is also super understanding and tries to make sure his courses aren’t too overwhelming so we did not have a lot of assignments and stuff which was amazing.
I have learnt about slavery before in other courses. Before this course I had learnt about slavery in Rome, Africa and America but that was about it. I had never taken a course that was specifically about slavery so I was very curious to see what we would learn in this one and I was not disappointed. I learnt so many eye opening things that I had never learnt about before.
I loved that he also had multiple classes on slavery in the Caribbean because that was something that a lot of courses do not really talk about a lot. We also talked about slavery that is currently going on which was a bit difficult to read primary sources about because they were truly heartbreaking. Most of us know that these things are happening but when you learn about them in detail its just different and much more difficult to digest. I’m glad he added that because it was something that was hard to learn about but also important to learn about.
Apart from that we did the general stuff that one usually thinks about when we discuss slavery like slavery in America. I think out of all the courses I have taken so far this was one of the most difficult one because of the primary accounts of slaves or former slaves. It’s really hard to read some of the things we did. I’m not going to share in detail what they were as some very extremely explicit and disturbing.
Overall, this course was amazing and I truly ended up learning so much.
History Of Food
As you guys know there are three things that I love- food, history and writing- and this course was a combination of all three of these things. Out of all the courses I have taken this was the one I was most excited about and I was not disappointed in the least bit. The professor I had for this course was really great and I had a really fun time with this course. She was also super chill which was amazing.
We do not often think of history and food together- at least most of us don’t. I mean some historical events such as famines etc. make us think about history and food together but when we think about general history we often do not think about food. For example, when we think about the Cold War the first thing we think about is usually not food. This course showed me that maybe we should think about food a lot more than we do when it comes to history because it plays an insanely large role in most of history.
The best part of this class was that we get to recreate a recipe from history as part of our assignment and we can base our final research paper on it to except obviously our final paper is much more detailed and about the topic in general not just the recipe.
The recipe I decided to recreate was from a cookbook written by a former slave called Abby Fisher and the cookbook was called Mrs. Abby Fisher Knows Southern Cooking. You can check out an online version of the cookbook by clicking here. This was the second- formerly believed to be the first- cookbook published by a freed slave and an African American woman. She herself nor her husband were able to read or write so the recipes were dictated and written by someone else.
The reason I chose this particular cookbook was because since I was taking a course in slavery as well I was already interested in slave food, eating habits and how what is now known as soul food is inspired by slave food. Therefore, I thought this would be very interesting to recreate and also her recipes were super simple and easy to recreate which was helpful. I personally chose to make her ginger cookies recipe and they turned out pretty good although slightly dry so I would recommend adding oat or coconut milk for anyone who may want to try recreating it as well. That’s how mine turned out:
This course really helped me thinking of food as more than just something we put in our body but rather as something that helps define who we are. What we eat says much more about us than we think it does. For some of us it allows us to connect with our ancestors and our culture, for others it allows us to reminisce about different times and for all of us it helps us create new memories.
I hope you enjoyed hearing a bit more about the courses I took last semester and my experiences with them. Have you ever taken any similar courses or are you currently taking any similar courses? Would you try historical recipes? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or simply stop by and say hi!
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